Until the later years of the 19th century, local industries mainly served the local economy. Mills, both for grinding corn and fulling woolen cloth, are covered in the Agriculture section.

One early industry was tanning which, in turn, supported ancillary businesses such as saddlers, glovers, and boot- and shoemakers.

There were several breweries and malthouses operating in the town. A significant one was High Brewery. Others included the Angel Brewery, behind the Angel Inn, the
Clayport Brewery and the Pickwick. An iron foundry and forge operated in Stonewell Lane , occupying a large site with a moulding shop, smithy, engine house, sanding house and joiner’s shop.